2023 Post-Primary Roundtable

2023 Post-Primary Roundtable

August 8, 2023



[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Hello everyone - good evening. Welcome to the Hacks & Wonks Post-Primary Roundtable. I'm Crystal Fincher, I'm a political consultant and host of the Hacks & Wonks podcast and radio show. And today I'm thrilled to be joined by three of my favorite hacks and wonks - local reporters - to break down what happened in last week's primary election.

We're excited to be able to livestream this roundtable on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Additionally, we are recording this roundtable for broadcast on KODX and KVRU radio, podcast, and it will be available with a full text transcript on officialhacksandwonks.com.

Our esteemed panelists for the evening are: Politics and Communities reporter for The Seattle Times, Daniel Beekman. Staff Reporter for Real Change, covering local news, labor, policing, the environment, criminal legal issues and politics, Guy Oron. And Seattle Axios reporter, Melissa Santos. Welcome everyone.

So I think we will get started talking about Seattle and all of these races for Seattle City Council. This is a year where we had some redistricted council districts in Seattle - we had a number of incumbents decide not to seek reelection, and a few who did - and some really interesting results.

So I think we'll start in District 1, which is in the West Seattle area, where we see a result of Maren Costa with the lead - currently at 33.16% - and the second person getting through the primary, Rob Saka, with 24% here. So I guess just starting out - how are these candidates positioned, and what do you think this primary says about the state of the district and the state of this race going into the general? Starting with Daniel - what are your thoughts here?

[00:02:14] Daniel Beekman: Oh, yeah, good questions - I'm interested to hear what the other folks have to say. I guess the one thing that strikes me about the race is that, like in - I think - every other race of the seven districts, we're going into the general election with a candidate who was endorsed by The Stranger's editorial board and one endorsed by The Seattle Times editorial board - which operates separately from our newsroom. And that's pretty typical for Seattle City Council elections. And maybe even without those endorsements, this race and others would have ended up the way they did - but I think that's something to note in this race and others. The other thing that struck me about this race is two pretty interesting candidates, background-wise - especially to some extent in Seattle politics with Costa. Doesn't really fit the - if there's a typical sort of Seattle candidate, especially in the left lane - the progressive, more progressive lane. I don't know if she fits quite into that. She doesn't come from a - she hasn't worked at the City Council, she doesn't come from the County or State Labor Council, she hasn't been steeped in local Democratic legislative district politics or anything like that, I don't think. She's from the tech world and was an activist in that world. So I don't know - I found that interesting, I don't know if that's a major takeaway - but it's something in that race that I think will be interesting to watch going forward.

[00:04:08] Crystal Fincher: Go ahead, Melissa. What did you think?

[00:04:10] Melissa Santos: I will be curious. It's really hard in a race where there's - what, we have eight candidates here again, or was it actually nine, eight in this one as well - to predict how the votes that the candidates didn't get will shake out. I'm really curious to see where Phil Tavel's votes go because - he ran last time too - and again, more one of the more business-friendly candidates in this race. And I'm just not sure that there'll be a one-for-one accounting for those votes, necessarily, when you come into November. Theoretically, those votes would go to the more central lane candidate, who is Rob Saka. But I don't know that that math is a direct line when there's a lot of time between here and November. And also, they're just - sometimes people are really attracted to someone's personal story in these races, right? We're focused as reporters and commentators sometimes on - who's the moderate, who's the lefty, or whatever. And sometimes I don't know that voters always are. Maybe there's one particular idea they had, that they talked about at the door, that people were into or a percentage were into. And there's also progressive candidates here that had some votes that are not making it to the primary, so I just don't know - I have zero idea how the votes for the non-winning candidates will shake out.

[00:05:34] Crystal Fincher: What do you think, Guy?

[00:05:36] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think to start - with all these Seattle races, I think the biggest message is that most people didn't vote. 64% of folks didn't vote in these elections. And it'll be interesting to see where those people land in the general. It did seem like a very competitive race - all these City Council races - but especially the open ones. And I think Maren was able to really use her credentials as an activist to get a lot of support among progressives, and while the more right-of-center lane was a little more split between Phil and Rob Saka. And it'll be interesting to see how it measures up. I think right-leaning candidates won just about 50%, compared to progressive ones that won about 45%. I was doing some rough arithmetic earlier - it is pretty narrow margin. It'll be interesting to see how it goes.

[00:06:46] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, this is a race where it looks like this is going to be a competitive race in the general election. We did see an interesting role that donors played in this race where there were some substantial fundraising numbers from a number of candidates, even several who didn't make it through. I think there were a few who eclipsed $50,000 who did not make it through the general election. And then you have the two that did make it through raising a considerable amount of money, in addition to an independent expenditure on behalf of Rob Saka that made some news - for a Trump-supporting donor included in there and certainly more business-aligned candidate there. How do you see the role of donors and money and the way that the primary election shaped up, and what do you think that says about the general election? - starting with you, Guy.

[00:07:43] Guy Oron: It'll be interesting to see. I think with Democracy Vouchers, it really changes the game and allows people who don't rely on corporate donations to run. And I think that gives Costa an edge there to fight at least an even battle. It'll be interesting to see if this election is more like 2019, where corporate donations sparked a big backlash, or more like 2021 when they got folks like Davison over the line.

[00:08:12] Melissa Santos: The independent expenditures, I think, will be interesting to watch because theoretically the Democracy Vouchers do even the playing field. But once you get all that independent expenditure money in there, it's not limited in the same way. So I do think we'll see this huge flood of outside money going forward. And I am watching how - whether that kind of undermines the intent of the Democracy Voucher program. We've had a few years now where we've watched how this plays out. But particularly this year, I'm looking at that because I just think there will be a lot of outside money. And there already has been in this race in particular - maybe not a lot yet, but more than in other races, of city council races - and that can tip the scales. But like Guy said, there has been backlash before. We certainly saw that with the $1 million Amazon donation to the Chamber's PAC that kind of seemed to have that kind of resurgence of the progressive candidates in protest a few years ago.

[00:09:21] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, I think it would be right to expect big outside spending in this race and some of the other races that look like they could be very competitive - that seems very likely. And one of the sort of quirks of this race in terms of spending in the primary was that there were some candidates - as you mentioned Crystal - like Stephen Brown got under 10%, spent money or raised quite a bit of money. But a fair chunk of that, I think - just looking, $34,000 or something like that was from himself, I believe. So that kind of tips the scales sometimes, or it can be confusing looking at the overall totals. But yeah, this is one of those races where I would be surprised if there wasn't a lot of independent spending in the general election.

[00:10:20] Melissa Santos: You're saying bagels can't buy a City Council seat, Dan? Is that what you're saying?

[00:10:24] Daniel Beekman: I'm just saying that this City - what was it? The mailer - This City deserves better bagels?

[00:10:32] Melissa Santos: Bagels. Yeah, maybe that wasn't effective - maybe a different audience, maybe next cycle.

[00:10:39] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see. And another race where sometimes people just have a ton of money and they think - I have a ton of money, I can loan myself money, donate to the campaign. But more often than not, we see those predominantly self-funders not necessarily finishing all that well. It actually does take the support of people in the community and those donations are basically a measure of support from people. And that seems to be important in overall results.

I do want to talk about District 2 now, which includes the Rainier Valley, southeast Seattle. And that is where incumbent Tammy Morales is facing Tanya Woo, who will be proceeding through to the primary. And this is one of those races where in Seattle we see numbers shift from Election Night to others - this certainly was no exception, a race that shifted. And as we stand now, Tammy Morales - over 52% of the vote here, 52.26%. Tanya Woo with 42.58%, so about a 10-point spread. This is one of the races where people were wondering if there was going to be a backlash to the council that showed up. Lots of talk going in about - Oh, the council may not be popular or have high approval ratings. I've noted several times, similar to Congressional approval numbers, those don't really have much bearing to individual Congressional results. Here to individual city council results, this is seemingly a strong finish for Tammy Morales as an incumbent here. How did you see this race, Guy?

[00:12:19] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think initially on Election Night - oftentimes media covers it as a definitive - especially not local media, but national media. It did seem close, but the fact that Tammy Morales won by 10% - got over 50% - that's huge for her. And I think it will be very, very hard for Tanya Woo to unseat her at this point. And it shows that Morales has a lot of support from a lot of the district. And so, especially considering the fact that Harrell went really hard supporting Woo and it looks like that didn't work out too well for him.

[00:13:03] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree, Daniel?

[00:13:05] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, I think to an extent. Definitely the race swung a lot - I think more than any other from Election Night to now - although other races did also have a leftward swing with the later ballots. It looks like to stand any kind of a chance, Tanya Woo will have to - she's a first-time candidate and raise her game, her candidate game, in the next couple months. And also it will be interesting to see - what I was looking for on Election Night - will that race be close enough for the people who fund those independent expenditures to decide that they want to get in? I don't know, but maybe they weren't necessarily expecting her to - Woo to come out on top, but maybe they're looking at - Well, is it close enough to make it worth our while to spend? And if I was her, I wouldn't want to hear the race described like that. But I think it's just reality as people are looking in from the outside and they're making decisions about where their money is best, would best be spent. So it'll be interesting to see if - what calculation those folks make - whether people think it was close enough to be worth pouring money in or not.

[00:14:40] Melissa Santos: Because remember - this was one of the least crowded races. It was just Tanya Woo, Tammy Morales, and then Margaret Elisabeth who got less than 5% of the vote. So it's not one of those sort of mystery, how did the vote split situations as much. This one is more likely to be pretty predictive of the general election. And yeah, there's only so much money to spend - even though we talk about tons of money in politics, people don't want to just throw it at nothing. And I don't think it's a lost cause - I think Tanya Woo has a chance - it doesn't look as good as it did on the night of the election for her.

[00:15:14] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, absolutely. This - to your point, Melissa - more than the others, I think - one, could be viewed through the lens of, Is this a referendum on Tammy Morales and/or the council? And also, this is one where it does pretty much reflect what the race is going to be in the general election. I don't think we've seen a situation before, barring a massive scandal, where an incumbent has finished with over 52% of the vote and lost. To your point, those trying to figure out - there are a number of open seats, there are certainly seats that some people want to pick up - Is it worth spending in those and this one? - is going to be part of the calculation that people make. But this is a harder one - it's hard to see incumbents losing in this kind of a position. How do you see the general election shaping up here, Daniel?

[00:16:15] Daniel Beekman: I think we know what kind of a race Tammy Morales is likely to run because she's - I think she's run similar races to some extent, when she won her seat and then the race before that when she nearly unseated Bruce Harrell. So I think we know what that's going to look like. I think the question is more how Tanya Woo is going to try to make up the vote she didn't get or gain in the general - what that looks like, whether that means leaning into her, more into her sort of community work in the CID [Chinatown International District], or if it means hammering on a particular issue like public safety or something like that. So I think that's - I don't know - but that's what I would be looking for is where this sort of question lies. But, yeah, I think it's - incumbents don't get knocked off very often. I was trying to think - I probably should have just looked it up, but I was trying to think before this about when's the last time the Seattle City Council incumbent was unseated and I was thinking about Jean Godden losing in the 2015 primary in a crowded race. But I think I could be totally spacing on a more recent one. But that seems like, in my mind, the most recent one and that's eight years ago now.

[00:17:48] Crystal Fincher: Go ahead, Melissa.

[00:17:49] Melissa Santos: I have a barking dog, so I'm trying to spare everyone from that. But yeah - now that I think about it - I was thinking - time is flat to me at this point, but Richard Conlin was a couple years before that. So what you're saying may be very well the most recent. We haven't seen a lot of incumbents go down and have those dramatic flips recently. It has happened, but not super recently. I will say - for Morales, since Sawant is leaving the council, she is, I think, the most - in this traditional lens of going back to who's left and who's center, right? Morales is the sort of furthest left member I think we have up for election this year. So the fact that she did get pretty good results in the primary, it suggests to me that there might not be this huge, huge upswell of being fed up with far-left City Council politics. There's certainly things people are unhappy with - we've seen polling that says people want more action on stuff - housing, homelessness. People want action. They want things to change, but they don't - necessarily voting out the most liberal candidates at this point.

[00:19:01] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And I think, I've talked about it before in other places, but sometimes we hear about polling a lot and it's - Well, people are unhappy. And that's a reflection on people being unhappy with City councilmembers and approval ratings are low. And I think there are a lot of people who are unhappy with the state of things today, but I think sometimes we make assumptions about why that is and assume that that automatically means that they're unhappy with their councilmember. And that's not necessarily the case. I think that this is yet another example of that, where we need to go further and ask - Okay, so you're not happy with the state of things. Is it because - when it comes to public safety, do you want a more punitive and carceral approach, or do you want more intervention and community violence intervention and more addressing root causes? And I think if you look at the people on the ground in Seattle, they do want to do more to address some of the systemic issues that we have, to address some of the root causes, get more to prevention instead of trying to respond to so much after the fact. And I think that these results - almost in this race more than others - where there was a direct contrast between the two and a direct policy difference between the two. And we saw voters basically affirm that the direction Tammy Morales is heading is one that they're, that most are happy with. And especially in a lower turnout primary election, in an off-year, this is where you would expect unhappiness to really materialize if there was a desire to - kick all the bums out, that saying for people who are elected, but that didn't seem to materialize with two of the three incumbents finishing over 50%. And the third with the plurality of the vote there. How do you think this moves forward with that, Guy?

[00:21:04] Guy Oron: Yeah, I do think it's a vindication for some of the people who were in the Solidarity Budget coalition, who are supporting decriminalization and defund, that maybe they see that one of the councilmembers that stood by their side got over 50%. I think they'll be reassured by that. I do think Tanya Woo got a lot of support in the CID and was able to really voice to that neighborhood that has been ignored a lot in the media by policymakers - or used as tokens, but not actually given proper seat at the table. So I think even if Morales wins the general election, that'll be something on the top of her priorities - is to better address the CID. And I think that was something that Woo was able to bring, even if she doesn't win in the general.

[00:22:03] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. Go ahead, Daniel.

[00:22:07] Daniel Beekman: Oh, I was just going to say - and there's also sort of the differences district-to-district and candidate-to-candidate where - definitely Tammy Morales had a, looks like a strong result. On the other hand, you saw Dan Strauss trying to distance himself from some of his pro-defund advocacy from back in 2020 - I think I saw a mailer. And so whether he's right or not, he's obviously a little bit concerned about some of that coming back to bite him with voters in his district, so there's some differences district to district as well.

[00:22:51] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I agree with that. Another district - District 3, where Councilmember Kshama Sawant will not be seeking reelection, so this is for the person who will succeed Councilmember Sawant. And so in this race, we have the two making it through - Joy Hollingsworth with 36.89% right now and Alex Hudson being the second, making it through with 36.52%. Another very crowded race - this is a very close result, maybe the closest result. And two very different candidates than the current incumbent. What do you think this says about the district, and what do you think this says about the race? - starting with Melissa.

[00:23:39] Melissa Santos: It is really close - you're less than a percentage point between these candidates now that we've seen the results shake out. And it is another situation where you have Joy Hollingsworth being the Seattle Times Editorial Board-endorsed candidate - not the newsroom, but the editorial board - and Alex Hudson being the Stranger-endorsed candidate up against one another. However, it's interesting to me because Alex Hudson is then - would be in the camp of being this more progressive candidate, right? - which in certain ways, she is. She's a long-time transit advocate and is - I remember, one time, her doing a video of confronting Tim Eyman, the anti-tax initiative pusher. And so she's done those sorts of things, but she's also someone who's worked a little bit more within the establishment than - certainly than Sawant, for instance - lobbying, building coalitions. So we're not seeing, and this has been said a lot about this race and I'm not the only one to say it, but we're not seeing anyone who wants to burn the barn down here in this race in the same way. We're not seeing a Socialist candidate in the same way even, and I'm actually - I haven't talked to these candidates as much as Dan and Guy probably have, but I actually think they're closer together on some issues than maybe it appears from those divergent endorsements. And I think some of that is likely to come to light during the general election, and it's possible that their positions don't as neatly line up necessarily with this sort of pro-business and labor/left activism, although in some ways they do.

[00:25:13] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree, Guy?

[00:25:15] Guy Oron: I definitely agree that it's a huge change from Kshama Sawant and either one of the candidates won't be Socialists. And so I think that'll be something for Seattle left to think about - how do you build momentum for a more broad base, long-term institutional victory - to get five council seats at least instead of just one. And that's - they have to go to the drawing board and think about that long-term. But in terms of Hudson and Hollingsworth, I think Hudson started off a little slow, but managed to snag some important endorsements - and that's credit to her and her long-time presence in the policy world in Seattle. And I think Hollingsworth also is a very compelling candidate - I've seen her at so many different events in the community. She really shows up - for example, when Nurturing Roots was closing back in March, not even in her district, but she was the only candidate to show up and show support. So I think that's credit to her and really cultivating her base in the CD [Central District]. And I definitely think it will be a tight race. Progressives did - all the progressive candidates together did win about 4 or 5% more than the more moderate candidates, so it'll be interesting to see if Hollingsworth can manage to build a coalition of moderate liberals and especially in the CD, turn out folks who aren't voting just to get over the line.

[00:26:57] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree, Daniel?

[00:26:59] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, I guess this is a race where Bruce Harrell has endorsed Joy Hollingsworth, right? So it'll be interesting to see what kind of impact that has, if any, that can be discerned - Mayor Bruce Harrell. Alex Hudson has a varied background, but coming out of the Transportation Choices Coalition - which is transit advocacy but labor-aligned - and in the world of the big players in Seattle politics and been a policy and politician factory. Rob Johnson, a councilmember, was the Executive Director there. And Jessyn Farrell, former state lawmaker, and other people - so it's been churning out folks into government, so that's interesting. But I think Melissa and Guy covered a lot of this, so I don't have a whole lot to add. I had noticed just on social media a little bit - and I should say that I'm not, I should shout out my coworker Sarah Grace Taylor, who's been doing a lot of the coverage of the City Council races this year for us rather than myself, so I'm not the expert - but just on observing on social media, I feel like I've seen a little bit of different emphases in how the two candidates are positioning themselves. Joy Hollingsworth trying to emphasize her community ties. And Alex Hudson - I just saw on the way over to do this - talking up transit as an issue. Obviously because she's - that's some of her background. But also she must think it will play well with voters saying - in that district that's pretty transit reliant.

[00:29:00] Melissa Santos: In theory, Joy Hollingsworth would be the candidate who's newer to politics - in theory - if you look at them. However, Joy is coming from a family of sort of political legacies in a way as well. Her grandmother Dorothy was the first African American woman elected to the Seattle School Board - and I think that's part of her community story a little bit that Joy is playing up - being from the Central District, being part of the legacy of people making change and pushing forward, which is interesting since she's the more establishment candidate endorsed by the mayor. But that's why the dynamics of this race are a little interesting to me. Because the narrative is not as clean as what we've looked at - races in the past where it's, again, lefty versus more business friendly Democrat kind of races in Seattle.

[00:29:54] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's spot on. And this is a district where there's a Socialist as an incumbent. This is arguably the most left district in the city that doesn't quite have a candidate that speaks to that far left end that Kshama Sawant does. And I do agree that there are potentially a number of overlaps or places where the policy differences may not be as clear from the very beginning. So I think this is going to be a race where it's going to be important to examine where the candidates stand. It's going to be important to understand where the differences are and to really understand what they're bringing in terms of - not just votes, but where they're willing to lead and push, perhaps, the council. What are going to be their signature issues? And what are going to be the issues where they may just be an additional vote? I think that there's a lot that people still don't know, and this is going to be one of the most interesting districts for trying to ferret out what those differences and contrasts are.

Also notice that fundraising in this race - again, a lot of money raised throughout the district. This is a race - we saw the result being very close - also the amount raised, both raising about $94,000 there. And so this is another race where both seem to have a lot of fundraising capacity. Is this going to be a race where outside entities get involved? And I also think those outside entities are going to be listening for cues from each of those candidates. Who do funders see as their ally on the council? Who does labor see as a stronger ally on the council? I think that there's still more that they're figuring out here. And those donations, those types of donors and those endorsements, are also going to do a lot of speaking for these candidates about where they stand and how they're likely to govern.

[00:31:54] Melissa Santos: I was surprised that - based on just fundraising - that Alex Cooley didn't do a little bit better because they raised $95,000 as well. I don't know if any of you can explain what happened there, because I expected a better showing for that amount of money - I thought, I don't know - just looking from the outside at it.

[00:32:09] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, I didn't follow it close enough to know - was it mostly Democracy Vouchers?

[00:32:14] Melissa Santos: Yes, must be. Yeah, it's a mystery to me.

[00:32:18] Guy Oron: He was the only candidate to run on a platform of only taking Democracy Vouchers and he didn't accept private donations, which I think is an interesting platform and could prove compelling if you think about - I'm not beholden to any interests, only the people. But I think his ground game was strong, but he didn't have a lot of institutional support from people like The Stranger, and so that's why he fell short.

[00:32:49] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, and to pick up on something that you mentioned when you introduced the race, Crystal - it's interesting to think about - Sawant won her seat in 2013, so 10 years ago. And to think about how much District 3 - those neighborhoods, like Capitol Hill and the CD, have changed in the last 10 years. And think about is that why we didn't get someone with Kshama Sawant's politics in this race? Or is it because people are tired of her personally and that's soured them? But they narrowly voted down a recall just recently, so they're not that sick of it. I don't know, I find that interesting to ponder on whether the fact that there are two very unlike-Sawant candidates and two non-Socialist candidates going into the general election has anything to do with her or not, has anything to do with changes in the electorate or not. I don't have the answer, but I'm intrigued by that question.

[00:34:05] Crystal Fincher: I don't have the answer to that one either, but I do think this is a race where endorsements mattered a lot because it was hard, just on the face, to see some of the automatic differences between the candidates in a way that you can in some of the other districts perhaps. And so this is another one where we talk about the importance of The Times and The Stranger endorsements and that certainly carried through here, in people looking at The Stranger as a cue to see who is considered to be the most progressive. Lots of times people are doing the same thing with The Times on the other side, if they want a more moderate presence on the council. And so I think those endorsements really mattered - in this race in particular - but in several of them overall.

Also want to talk about the District 4 election. Now this is a district where - we talk about change over the last 10 years - this is certainly a district where I think recent results that we're seeing there reflect an evolution of the district and a change in this district. And so both with redistricting here and in this race, probably one of the cleanest lines between what is considered traditionally someone in the progressive lane and those traditionally in a moderate to conservative lane. How did you see this race shaping up, Guy?

[00:35:27] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think it echoes the last 2019 elections, but now Ron P. Davis is number one instead of Alex Pedersen, so that's a good sign for him. And he is the strongest non-incumbent candidate in Seattle, winning 45% of the vote. It does seem like, with more development and just growing density, there are changing demographics. So it could be an opportunity for a pretty dramatic swing towards the left in this district. But still, the more moderate conservative candidates won about 55% of the vote together - Wilson and Maritza Rivera. So it'll be very competitive, and I think it all relies on if Ron can turn out all the students to vote for him who tend to lean more progressive.

[00:36:31] Crystal Fincher: How do you see this race, Melissa?

[00:36:35] Melissa Santos: Theoretically, it would make sense to add together those sort of more centrist candidates and say - Oh, they got 55% - and I don't disagree with doing that, Guy. The thing that was weird to me is - and I wish I had in front of me at the moment - but there was a mailer that went out and Crystal, you saw this and I just think Dan, you also probably saw this - but where it didn't, it seemed like Wilson was going after Rivera, who was closer to him politically, than he was going after Davis. And there were checkmarks and it's like Davis got more checks being aligned with Wilson than Maritza Rivera did on this particular advertisement and mailer. And I don't know if that kind of communication is going to then make some people think that Davis is more aligned - people who voted for Wilson - if they're going to think, go forward thinking Davis is more their guy than Rivera. Or there's a lot of election communication still yet to happen, so I guess all of that can be reset. But it seemed like that was one of the primary communication that's happening in that district. And it may have disrupted the dynamic in a way of the sort of candidates and saying - Oh yeah, this is now my candidate since mine got knocked out since they're the most similar. And so I'm not sure how that will carry out forward going with this election into the general.

[00:37:50] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, that's interesting - whether that mailer will stick in anyone's mind and sour them on Rivera when they might not otherwise be. I think probably what Ken Wilson was going for there was just looking and assuming that - Well, Ron Davis is getting through, it's between me and Maritza Rivera about who's getting through on the other lane, and so let's see if I can make that happen without - like we were talking about - one of these newspaper endorsements. And it didn't work as much as he needed to, at least.

Yeah, District 4 is interesting. Shaun Scott ran - I think running as a Democratic Socialist to some extent in 2019 - ran Alex Pedersen really close in District 4 in that year. And I guess my sort of what I'll be watching for in this one is how Ron Davis moves forward - whether he tries to draw really sharp contrast between himself and Maritza Rivera and he thinks that's the key, or if he tries to tack to the center a bit to try to win over some of those maybe slightly more moderate voters or Ken Wilson voters in some way. And I'll just tell a sort of funny story. I went out on Election Day to do some just person-on-the-street voter reporting. And it was funny because I was in District 4 and District 5 for a while talking to voters. And I had two voters - one was this sort of like older boomer, typical Seattle boomer voter, and to some extent - whatever that is. And I said - What are you thinking about? And most of the people I talked to didn't have some sort of mega-narrative about the Seattle election cycle, like we're going to throw out the lefties or we're going to do this. It was more - they're kind of grasping at straws a bit in my little unscientific sample size. But this somewhat older voter said - Well, I care about trees and I went to this tree protest in Wedgwood for Luma the cedar tree. And Ken Wilson was there and he seemed to care, so I'm voting for him - that's a big reason. And then I talked to a voter - more lefty-seeming voter in her 20s, I think - elsewhere, I think in the U district. And they said - Well, I care about climate change and I went to this protest for the cedar tree. And Ron Davis was there, so I'm voting for him. So I don't know if that means anything, but it just goes to show - yeah, so it will be interesting to see, does Ron Davis lean into the tree protest? Or does he lean into let's densify and tax big business?

[00:40:58] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, this is going to be interesting. And those anecdotes are always so interesting, and I think underscores just from the inside-a-campaign candidate perspective - three quarters of the job, three quarters of the work is in showing up, whether it's on someone's doorstep, whether it's at an event. People want to see that you're actively engaged in the community and in the issues that they care about. So I would just encourage all of the candidates to do that. And the more you can talk to regular voters, the better.

But this is an interesting race here. This is another race where we also saw an independent expenditure on behalf of, or in favor of, Maritza Rivera here. And it is an interesting race where - I don't know that this race, these votes consolidate cleanly pre-mailer in the way that they would expect. On top of that, this is a district that, a similar district, just last year elected Darya Farivar. And you think that the general election electorate is going to look more similar to what we saw in an even-year election then - that certainly is more progressive than that district and that area has been for a while. So are we seeing a shift in the preferences of a district? Are we seeing a shift in the issues that are concerning people? Certainly housing affordability is a major issue throughout all of Seattle, but also playing out in this district where I think the previous calculus and assumption was that this is a district full of NIMBYs and they seem to be voting in the opposite direction now. So this is going to be a really interesting race to pay attention to and one that may attract a lot of outside money because there are clearer lanes with a moderate in the race seemingly and a progressive - and looking to really pick up the seat for one or the other.

Also want to talk about the District 5 race, which is another interesting, exciting race and was a pretty close race. So we have Cathy Moore here - close overall, especially for the second and third place finisher here - so Cathy Moore finishing with 32.26% of the vote, ChrisTiana ObeySumner - they're finishing with 21.38% of the vote here. How did you see this vote shaping up in the primary? Nilu Jenks is finishing currently in third place, just outside of making it through the primary. Guy, how did you see this developing?

[00:43:47] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think the District 5 race was by far the most fractured and we had, I think, tied for the most amount of candidates. And so people - I think a lot of people voted for their first choice and I think ChrisTiana was able to be a sort of dark horse and come out on top. I think a lot of people were expecting Nilu Jenks to win, and so now those voters will have to decide whether they prefer Moore or ChrisTiana - and I think that will decide which way the district goes. But I think North Seattle is not usually thought of as a progressive stronghold, but I think it is surprisingly pretty progressive in terms of where people are voting. And I think people have all sorts of politics, like chaotic politics, where they support trees and density - and how do you reconcile those two, and I think that's up to the candidates to show that they're more well-spoken and have a stronger vision about integrating these various contradictions.

[00:44:59] Crystal Fincher: What do you think, Melissa?

[00:45:01] Melissa Santos: I was just reviewing some of the candidates' sort of statements and where they're coming from - it does encapsulate to me a little bit - you have Cathy Moore talking about public safety. All the candidates are talking about safety and should be talking about public safety probably, but she's coming at - literally in her voter guide statement says - I'm the pragmatic solution - very much very focused on capturing that center lane, people who might want to see a little bit more timely police response is a huge part of her platform. And again, everyone wants the cops to probably, I think, to respond to emergencies probably. I don't think there's too many people saying - well, okay, I retract my statement. It's a very complicated issue, actually. But I mean emphasizing that - as opposed to emphasizing housing and upstream solutions to homelessness, which is where ChrisTiana was doing with her statements. I just think we have a lot of contrast between people talking about housing, to be honest - housing, housing, housing on one side and then people talk about public safety sometimes when you get - in the more traditional races where you get those center lane candidates.

And housing is a message that's resonating with people. People, I think, want housing to be a thing. And again, for instance, we had this Social Housing measure pass earlier this year and I think that kind of - Tammy Morales, again, who is leading in her race and getting good, has really been supportive of that social housing measure and finding money to actually implement it. And as far as District - back to District 5 - I think ChrisTiana ObeySumner is also talking about those sorts of things more so than cops and hiring more police, and I think that there's people who want to hear them talk about that. And there certainly were other candidates in this race talking about different solutions to some of the sort of agreed upon crisis we see - maybe homelessness and housing - but I think those sort of holistic solutions, people are listening to that in an interesting way in some of these races. And this is an example of that to me.

[00:47:15] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, this is a race where I think there was a broader range of viewpoints represented in this race across the spectrum that we see in Seattle. There was Tye Reed also in this race, who was very involved in the Social Housing initiative and that passing, and taking up a left mantle. But a number of progressive candidates - I think, yet again, this was another race where people were trying to figure out who was most aligned with their beliefs and that may have been not as easy as some people would have thought at first glance. And so another race where I think the endorsements from The Times and The Stranger were once again consequential. But I also think this is one where - a lot of times, I think we underestimate sometimes just individual candidate attributes, individual candidate performance, how people are connecting. And especially with how close this race was, particularly between the second and third place finishers - ChrisTiana ObeySumner and Nilu Jenks - I think ChrisTiana did a more effective job at clearly articulating where they stood on issues. And that was more of a challenge for Nilu Jenks, where some people left with some impressions based on what they said and they said things that gave other impressions to people. And so voters trying to reconcile who these candidates are and what kind of votes to expect, endorsing organizations trying to ferret out what kind of votes should they expect from these - I think that this is an example of being clear about where you stand is helpful in getting through to establishment people, getting through to voters, and making the kinds of connections that get you through to the general election. What do you think, Daniel?

[00:49:17] Daniel Beekman: I was going to say - yeah, I don't have a lot to add, I don't think, about these particular two candidates. But I spent some time on Election Day - again, my very unscientific sample size, by the Lake City Library and a lot of people were talking about homelessness and people were talking about public drug use. And it will be interesting to see how these candidates navigate some issues like that. I do think that the questions about prosecuting people for using drugs in public - that has been in the headlines recently at City Hall, so that will likely in this race and others be something that is talked about. But Guy mentioned Darya Farivar's - or maybe you did, Crystal, or both of you - that election that she ran and won last year. And I would think that candidates in both District 4 and District 5 might want to be looking at that - and some of it is just about a candidate and their personality and what they have going for them. But if you're a smart candidate in those districts, you're looking at that race and - what did she do? And also just reminded me that - in terms of sort of some changes politically - is that on issues like criminal justice or the legal system, on issues around housing - both zoning, which is traditionally very much a city issue, but also on funding affordable housing - it seems like there are more of those conversations and more action happening in Olympia than there was some years ago. And I don't know if that sort of makes some of these City races feel a little bit less urgent for folks, but it's something that's occurred to me where - some years ago when there was just nothing happening in the State Legislature, when people are looking for help or for change, it made City elections that much more high stakes, but maybe that's been changing a little bit.

[00:51:26] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and I also think this is an interesting race just because of the expanded representation that could potentially be coming to the Council - non-binary person, disabled BIPOC person - and that kind of representation being really important. We're seeing so many other members of the community deal with challenges and access issues related to that, that some lived experience could be very enlightening and helpful in crafting solutions that meet the needs of everyone in the City. So I'll be interested to see that explored throughout the general election. And just figuring out, once again, where these candidates stand on issues. There's going to be a lot that the City Council is going to be dealing with over the next several years. And so I hope that there really is an attempt to figure out where the candidates stand and what solutions they feel - not just that they're willing to vote for, but that they're really willing to lean on and try and craft solutions with their colleagues on this for.

So also want to talk about the next district here - a race with an incumbent here - Dan Strauss and Pete Hanning. One where there was quite a bit of money in this race, quite a bit of spending. Dan Strauss - this was really interesting because as we touched on before, we saw with Tammy Morales really leaning into her record and a seeming justification and approval of that and almost a mandate from voters to continue on in the same direction based on how she represented herself - different strategy here and someone looking like they're running away from their record a bit or saying - Hey, I'm course correcting here. So do people know what they're getting? Do people know what they're expecting? But still a strong result for an incumbent here, with Dan Strauss currently at 51.77% of the vote in District 6. And then Pete Hanning, who was the Seattle Times-endorsed candidate with 29.32% of the vote, despite almost over $96,000 raised. How did you see this race, Melissa?

[00:53:50] Melissa Santos: I think Dan has probably looked at this a little more closely, but I did find it interesting that Dan Strauss - getting back to Dan Beekman's point earlier - was Dan Strauss was just saying "Defund the Police" was a mistake - he just said it straight up. That's just - he was emphasizing that. And I - that has to be a reflection of his district. And I - gosh, I should be more familiar with the new district lines, but we are talking about a different district than District 3, which is central Seattle, here. We're talking about - I actually mix up the two guys on the council not infrequently, it's super embarrassing - but anyway, so Dan Strauss's district though is very different than central Seattle. It's not Andrew Lewis's district, which is different, but we're talking an area that does have more conservative pockets - conservative as it gets in Seattle in a way. So "Defund the Police" he's saying was a mistake, but then other people - that message hasn't resonated in some of the other races. So we are talking about a district that is very unique, I think, from some of the central Seattle districts in that apparently Dan's doing really well, just completely acting like "Defund the Police" was a discussion that never should have happened. So will be interesting seeing what happens there.

[00:55:08] Crystal Fincher: What do you think, Dan?

[00:55:11] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, I don't know. I think Dan Strauss is definitely benefiting from being an incumbent to the extent that people - they may not feel like they love the guy, although some voters, I'm sure, do - but they know who he is, they know his name, he's been in office. He gives off - or tries to give off - a sort of I'm-just-Dan-from-Ballard vibe, your local guy who you know, a nice guy. Maybe that probably puts off some people, but I think he benefits from that in people just looking at the ballot and they may know The Red Door, but they may not know Pete Hanning's name.

The one thing that I thought - I was looking at - that was most interested in was this is the district that changed most dramatically in redistricting. So it used to be the west part of north of the cut - Ballard, going up all the way up to Blue Ridge, etc, Broadview, and then over towards Green Lake. But now it hops the cut and basically is like Ballard, Fremont, and Magnolia - and looking at sort of the maps, all that's been released mapwise in terms of precinct level results is Election Night, so it's not the full picture, but you get a sense for the pattern. And overall the map, I don't think looks any different from any other Seattle election map, but this is a new configuration for that district and so interesting to see. Dan Strauss did very well in central Ballard, the more apartment-heavy part of Ballard and Fremont. And that Pete Hanning's stronghold, to the extent he had one in the primary, was in Magnolia, which isn't necessarily surprising. But it's just - it's a new map, so it's fun to see a new map.

[00:57:24] Crystal Fincher: It is fun to see a new map. How did you see this, Guy?

[00:57:28] Guy Oron: Yeah, Dan Strauss had a very impressive personal mandate - I think he got the most votes by far out of any of the Seattle City Council races - and this was the only district that reached like 40% turnout. So I wonder if that's in part because of just the demographics - being wealthier, whiter, more middle class. But I do wonder how much of that mandate is just because he's the default, milquetoast, moderate white guy. Or if it's just like people are passionate about him. Or I think a lot of people read The Stranger and voted for him - that would be my guess. And also he's incumbent and he's somehow managed to spin himself as not being that inoffensive. And also, I'm curious about Pete Hanning - if his candidate quality was as high as some of the other candidates in terms of getting his name recognition out there and actually making a mark - and so that would be his challenge going into the general election. But I would be very, very shocked if Strauss doesn't win at this point.

[00:58:50] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it would be unprecedented for someone in Strauss's position, or really someone in Morales's position, not to be successful in the general. The power of incumbency is real. It is really, really hard to take out an incumbent, which is why sometimes you hear with a number of challengers, excitement - that it takes the electorate being in a place where they're ready to make a change and signaling they're going to make a change - and then takes a candidate who can take advantage of that. It looks like some were banking on the electorate being in more of a mood for a change than they actually are, which I think changes perhaps some of the strategy that some of the challengers had going in. But I think this is a case where there's an incumbent and people may have their feelings - I think he does try to be generally inoffensive and it's hard for a lot of the district to really, to very strongly passionately dislike him. But even those who were open to a change, it's one thing to say - Okay, I'm willing to hear other points of view - but it does take a candidate who can really articulate a clear vision and connect with voters to give them something that they can say - Okay, I can say yes to this, there is another vision here that I'm aligned with. And I don't know that voters heard another vision that they're necessarily aligned with unless they were really unhappy in the first place. It just looks like the amount of people who were really unhappy with their own councilmember just is not that big of a number, not one that's automatically creating a shift on the council. And so I think the job of a number of these challengers is a little bit harder than they bargained for.

And I think here in another race - a closer race with an incumbent - in District 7, Andrew Lewis finished with, or currently has as of today the 8th, 43.47% of the vote to Bob Kettle's 31.5%. How do you see this race shaping up, Guy?

[01:01:04] Guy Oron: Yeah. I thought - this was really a little surprising to me that Lewis did so poorly here. He still got the plurality, but he didn't have any challenges from the left, so it was a lot of pretty right-wing candidates or center who were really attacking him for his drug ordinance vote, policing. And I think this is probably the place we can expect a Chamber of Commerce or their successor organizations to pour in a ton of money to unseat him, to unseat Lewis. We also saw very low turnout in part because I think places like South Lake Union have a lot of expats and a lot of folks who are from around the country who don't pay attention to local politics. And so it might be important to have a ground game and activate those voters, and for Lewis just to find new voters instead of trying to look weak and flip-flop on issues. But that's just my two cents.

[01:02:15] Daniel Beekman: Go ahead, Daniel. Yeah. I was just thinking that Guy was making some good points there and in theory, turnout should grow from the primary to the general election just as a rule. So yeah, Andrew Lewis is going to need to go after more voters. And in his 2019 race, he had the advantage of not just, I think, ad spending outside, but he had - I remember because I went out with them - hotel workers, union hotel workers knocking doors, turning out the vote for him on their own through independent work from his campaign, independent from his campaign in that election. And certainly he would hope to get that kind of support to turn out those additional voters in the general or else maybe he's in trouble.

But yeah, I always like to look at the map. It was interesting looking at this one too, where you just had some real clear like top of Queen Anne and Downtown to some extent anti-Andrew Lewis voting or pro his challengers. And then the rest of the district, I think he did fairly well. But if turnout is a lot higher on upper Queen Anne than lower Queen Anne - doesn't matter what the map looks like in terms of space on it.

[01:03:57] Crystal Fincher: Is that how you size it up, Melissa?

[01:04:00] Melissa Santos: Yeah, I just think Andrew Lewis has a lot of work to do going forward to the general because theoretically you expect - I think it's reasonable to expect voters who voted for, for instance, Olga Sagan, the restaurant owner who is very anti-the work of the city council and anti-Andrew Lewis's record - they're more likely those voters are likely to vote for Bob Kettle, I would think in this particular case, than suddenly say maybe he's okay now. So and that would get - that alone - she only got 12% or something like that. But that's a sizable chunk to add to Bob Kettle's total there. And I do notice that Andrew Lewis seems a little worried. I do think he's trying to make sure his name's out there for stuff he's doing on the council right now - which all of them are doing who are incumbents - but I feel like Lewis especially is aware that he has some ground to make up.

[01:04:57] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's right. And I think that Lewis has some reassuring to do of a lot of his base. I think that - right or wrong - but I think that there's cause for it, that there are people wondering if he really is a champion on their issues or can be pressured to not vote a certain way. I think more than other - certainly for the incumbents that are there - I think he's viewed as more of a swing vote than some others, which really says you may not know exactly what you're getting from him if you're in his base. And I think that's a challenge. I think that candidates - certainly incumbents are in a stronger position if they do have a well-defined persona, defined stances - that at least your base knows what they're going to get. And then you try and expand that a little bit. I think he has more of a challenge than the other incumbents there. With that said, I think that he is probably in a stronger position to win the general election. Not that this won't be competitive certainly, but I think if you're looking between the two of them and you're a betting person, he's more likely to be able to consolidate the vote and pick up people who vote in the general who don't necessarily vote in the primary than a more moderate candidate. But I think this is a race that has a lot of attention and a lot of interest, and one where we're likely to see outside spending playing a significant role in this race.

[01:06:36] Melissa Santos: Yeah, and you are right that he didn't just annoy centrist people who wanted to see more prosecution of drug arrests. He actually has annoyed the progressives at various times by flip-flopping - I'm thinking about the capping rent fees as one vote he had where at first he was supporting a higher cap fee on, a higher maximum fee on late rent, than maybe the progressives wanted. And then went back to supporting a lower one - it was like $10 versus $50 or something like that. I think that some of the progressives were - Hey, where is this guy at on this - with that when they wanted to see that cap on late rent fees. I feel like it's hard to me for me to say all those words together correctly, but we wanted to see a very tight cap on how much landlords could charge for late rent. And Lewis was a little more willing, at one point, to consider letting landlords charge a little more for that. And that was something that disappointed progressives too.

[01:07:35] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, and it's - are you threading - he may be trying to thread the needle on some of these issues, but if he can't thread it correctly, does it look like you're flip-flopping or being - are you wavering rather than threading?

[01:07:51] Guy Oron: It does seem like Lewis has been a little less successful with that strategy than Strauss. And maybe that's also because of their districts, but I think he should be worried a little bit about alienating those people who would maybe support him otherwise, for Stranger readers or that labor, for example, are labor unions actually going to come out and bat for him at this point like they did in 2019. So that will be something he has to work on in the next couple months.

[01:08:31] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it is. And so we've covered all of these Seattle City Council district races. Looking at them - is there a narrative to all of these races? Before this, Mayor Bruce Harrell had talked about recruiting against some of the incumbents here, having some candidates here. Do you see this as an acceptance, or repudiation, jury still out on what this says about where people stand in alignment with the mayor based on these results? Guy?

[01:09:10] Guy Oron: I think, firstly, all the races are very competitive. So that was a little different than expectations. I think progressives do have a shot of actually winning back control a little bit, or retaining control, depending on how you define that. But I think the biggest narrative for me is just how low turnout we had. We had only 15% of 18 to 24 year olds vote across King County, so that shows that the political process isn't engaging a big amount of people - which is probably the most concerning fact out of this primary.

[01:09:52] Crystal Fincher: What do you think, Daniel?

[01:09:55] Daniel Beekman: I don't know in terms of big takeaways overall, I guess we wait and see for the general. Some of the - some sort of fundamentals in Seattle politics aren't going to change that much generally from year to year and a lot of that is present in this election. Especially when, as Guy was saying, turnout wasn't high. There didn't seem to be tons of energy, even relative to other City elections, for this primary. And like I was mentioning before, that might not change unless there's one of these sort of big narratives that sort of - and they can be unpredictable like that Amazon money bomb, or who knows, maybe there's going to be another one of these tree protests - that really galvanize the voter imagination at the right moment and, or something around drugs and make it - pull an election out of the normal sort of rut of where you have these two general political factions and electorates in the city that are fairly evenly balanced. So it'll be interesting to see if there's something like that that grabs people and makes this time different in some way.

[01:11:23] Crystal Fincher: What are your thoughts, Melissa?

[01:11:25] Melissa Santos: While I think there's a lot of potential for change on the council, that's mostly - to me - the function of there being four open seats. And then, actually, we'll probably get to this in our last moments, but probably there'll be five seats that change over on the council, it looks like - which is five out of nine, that's a majority. So there's a lot of potential for change. However, it doesn't strike me that the incumbents are in danger of losing necessarily. So the change is just from new people coming in, but not throwing the old people out - is what it looks like. Lewis might be the one exception. He's the closest to potentially losing his seat, but I'm not certain that will happen either. So we could just end up with a lot of new voices and a lot of the incumbents all staying, which - the new voices may be aligned with the mayor, it's hard to say - I was just doing napkin math and looking at vote counts and how it will work out. But to that point, though, we don't know how some of these folks yet would vote on certain issues. So it's even hard to do that. Do I know where Joy Hollingsworth stands on certain, every single vote that the council's had on housing policy and taxing in the past five years? You know - I actually don't. So I don't know how those votes would shake out even if, whichever faction is elected. But I do think the progressive candidates are doing well in a lot of these races, so that will be interesting to see.

[01:12:44] Daniel Beekman: It might just be that the biggest change in dynamic is something that has nothing to do with November, and it's that - no more Sawant on the council. Not that she always gets what she wants - that's hardly the case, but that's just been such a constant dynamic at City Hall for the last 10 years. And that could just change the way things are done and the sort of the whole political landscape up there on the dais at City Council as much as some of these other seats swapping out or who gets in those seats.

[01:13:30] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I tend to agree with that. And I think - once again I hope people, whether you're an organization who's going to be doing forums or examining that or voters as you have opportunities to have conversations with these candidates - that you ask them where they stand and you hold them accountable for stating their position, for stating how they would have voted, for talking about how they did vote when they voted on different things so that you know what you're getting in terms of a councilmember and their vote. I think that there's growing frustration around looking at some of these challenges that we're facing in the City of Seattle and around the region, whether it's homelessness or public safety or climate change or taxation or progressive revenue, that there's been a lot of rhetoric over the past several years but maybe not the kind of change that people would expect based on some of the broad rhetoric that people have heard. And so I think the lesson to take from that is to really drill down and not just have people give you their very rosy, I-believe-the-children-are-the-future type sayings, but when they can't get everybody to agree, when everyone gathered around the table doesn't come up with one solution, what are they willing to step up and advocate for? What are they willing to stand up and say - Okay, I know this may not make everyone happy, but this is what I believe we need to do and how we need to move forward. I think those will be the most enlightening conversations that come out of this general election and will be the most helpful for voters making decisions.

I do want to talk about these King County Council races. And one of these races features a current Seattle City Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda, in the District 8 race against current Burien mayor, Sofia Aragon. This had a very strong showing - again for a Seattle City Council incumbent - Teresa Mosqueda with 57.56% of the vote right now, Sofia Aragon 37.57%. I don't think it's controversial to say that this is extremely likely to result in Teresa Mosqueda winning this race in the general election. We still have to go through it - nothing is absolutely set in stone, but this is about as safe as you can look as an incumbent. And interestingly enough, another Seattle City councilmember who has been on the forefront of big progressive policy wins - probably at the top of the list, the JumpStart Tax, which has been very consequential for the City of Seattle. What was your take of this race, and what do you think the big issues were or what this says about voters here in this race? - starting with Guy.

[01:16:38] Guy Oron: I think the first outcome, I think, is just it shows how important high quality candidates are. I think Teresa is exemplary qualified. I think she has a lot of connections with local labor organizations, local community groups. And so she was really able to outmatch Sofia Aragon in that. And it also showed that I think that district was looking for more than just platitudes about policing and homelessness. And the third thing is maybe it's also a backlash against Aragon's handling of the recent saga over homelessness in Burien, and just how much the city has intensified vitriol against its unhoused population under her majority control. So those were my three takeaways.

[01:17:36] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. And for those unfamiliar, a dramatic saga currently playing out still in the City of Burien, where there have been a number of sweeps that have taken place with some homeless encampments there in the city. Those sweeps have to operate in a constitutionally legal framework. It looks like the City of Burien got outside of that framework - they were warned by the King County Executive that they were outside of that - you can't sweep people without an offer of shelter. But sometimes in cities, a major issue is that they don't have the resources to do that. Uniquely in Burien, King County offered to provide shelter and a number of Pallets [shelters], a million dollars worth of that basically - Hey, work alongside us and we'll help you work through this with your population. And from the mayor, the deputy mayor on down basically rejected that offer and would rather not take that up, not house the population, and double down on more punitive criminalized efforts, which it seems may not be very popular in the city. And whether people favor more punitive or more evidence-based solutions there - seems like the one thing people do want is action taken. And when it looks like that isn't being taken, that's a challenge - that may have been a factor here in this race. I'm wondering what kind of addition to the council, or what does it look like voters voted for in terms of policy here and in terms of potential budget impacts or taxation? How did you see this, Melissa?

[01:19:23] Melissa Santos: As you mentioned earlier, Mosqueda was really active in getting a tax on big business. This was the Amazon tax that actually ended up passing, after the head tax - kind of was an effort that failed in 2018. Mosqueda picked up the pieces and there were others, too, but she led this effort to actually get a tax on business passed in Seattle, which I think is a pretty big achievement, given how spectacularly that effort fell apart previously. And so she's sometimes been vilified by this - Sawant, for instance, as being too willing to work with people or something. But if you do get an Amazon tax out of it, then that seems to please progressives for the most part. So I think you will get some progressive views on tax policy on the County Council if Mosqueda is elected, which she is likely to be, it looks like.

And Mosqueda is interesting because she is not - she has not, I don't think, walked away from the idea of saying - I don't, the number of police is not necessarily equivalent to having great public safety. I don't think we need all these police. She hasn't really walked back from her statements on that so much as maybe Dan Strauss and others here. And this was a real interesting contrast, because that's exactly where Aragon was going after her, saying - Defund the police has failed. Has the City Council of Seattle actually - did they actually follow through with actually defunding stuff? Not quite exactly, but the discussion certainly happened and that was a side that Mosqueda was interested in - looking at other solutions as opposed to hiring more cops, for sure, that's certainly fair to say. The voters in that area seem to think that's fine - 20 point spread here, it's not close. So I think that the thing that interests me most - I think the County Council is interesting, and then Mosqueda will join that and it will create another progressive voice in the County Council. But then we're going to have a fifth City Council seat that needs to be filled, and that will happen by appointment. And that's wild - voters aren't really going to be involved in that. And again, getting ahead of myself - the election has not happened, but 20 point spread, like we can probably assume there's going to be a fifth opening on the City Council. So that's the fifth seat that we aren't even really talking about on the ballot, which then there'll be people who parade through the City Council presenting themselves for the job. And they will have that happen probably toward the end of this year after the elections are over, or maybe early January, depending on the timing. But that will mean a majority of the City Council is changing over, and it could be not a progressive person replacing Mosqueda on the City Council. They won't be super far right or anything, but you could get a more centrist person than she is in that role because voters don't really have a say in it.

[01:22:14] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and certainly whoever winds up on the council is going to be very consequential in that decision. What are your thoughts, Dan?

[01:22:23] Daniel Beekman: Oh, I was just looking at the Election Night results map - and I should plug Washington Community Alliance because they did this and then put it out there, so that's what I'm looking at. But the interesting thing - I think it might be a little bit tempting because Sofia Aragon is an elected official - is she the mayor right now of Burien? Yeah, she's a mayor of Burien. So it might be a little tempting to read views into the whole Burien brouhah in this result. And maybe there's some of that. But looking at the map, Burien was actually - relatively speaking, she did decently. And the district also includes the dense part of Capitol Hill and the dense part of West Seattle - and that's where Mosqueda cleaned up. So I think you could a little bit more look at this and say it's the opposite of a repudiation in terms of Mosqueda's work on the City Council. But I would be a little bit more hesitant to read into it all that much about Burien, even though maybe some of that could be going on.

[01:23:45] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's an interesting point. And again, I think that the mapping - more mapping options is wonderful. Kind of similar with first night results, I caution people against looking at first night precinct results - those tell a different story in the same way that the numbers tell a different story. So I'm super eager to dive into these when we have full results on those. And looking at that seems to be more enlightening and more accurate as to where things wind up there, but a really interesting view.

And then in the other competitive King County Council race, District 4, where there were three pretty progressive candidates actually in this race in the primary where there was Jorge Barón, Sarah Reyneveld, and then Becka Johnson Poppe. Looking at this in comparison to the City Council races, the other County Council race, this is a race where all three of these candidates were, I think it's probably fair to say most people would consider them all to be progressives. And I've moderated one or two forums for this in the primary election. And these answers were routinely to the left of several of the city councilmembers here. But it looks like - in this race, an interesting dynamic - Jorge Barón got in the race a little bit later. He was previously involved in the legislative session, and so had to finish that up before joining the race, but ended up securing the endorsements of both The Times and The Stranger, which most people don't generally do. Usually there are only select few candidates each cycle who wind up getting both of those endorsements. He did. And it definitely shows in the results with Jorge - usually you don't see someone in an open seat primary getting over 50% - jorge Barón is currently at 50.65%. Sarah Reyneveld also advancing through to the general election at 28.7% here. How do you think this race shaped up and what did you see from this race, Melissa?

[01:26:10] Melissa Santos: Jorge is just such a - has a big, big lead, as you said - and getting, again, this is not an incumbent getting almost 51% of the vote. This is a new candidate. But I do think this speaks to Jorge having done a lot of work. When we go back to 2017 and people rushing to SeaTac airport to respond to President, then-President Trump's ban on travel from certain Muslim countries, Jorge Barón was at the forefront of a lot of work. He was at the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, I believe - off the top of my head, I think of it as the acronym, so I hope I have the full name correct here - but he's done so much work there where he's gotten a lot of earned media coverage because of doing a lot of work on behalf of people in the community. I think that, even if he hadn't campaigned at all - which I know he didn't just sit on the sidelines - but that did a lot of work before he even started campaigning. And I think that's reflected in the numbers here.

[01:27:08] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I would agree with that. And to people looking to learn lessons when you're running - this is an excellent example of someone building their profile through serving in the community and people being aware of the work that they're doing, seeing tangible ways that that is playing out in the community. I think Jorge certainly benefited from that and benefited from just people saying - I certainly was a supporter of the work at the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project and so impactful and important in the community. How did you see this, Guy?

[01:27:46] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think it really shows Jorge Barón's ground game kind of making, or rather the opposite of ground game, the networking. And just having served in the community for so long, I think, was probably what got him that endorsement - and familiarity with policy issues for years. Yeah, and I think it's a bit of a unicorn endorsement. I'm very curious what the deliberation was between The Seattle Times and The Stranger editorial boards. And it does show just how much power they have as gatekeepers, particularly in more low-turnout elections like these August primaries.

[01:28:29] Crystal Fincher: How did you see this, Daniel?

[01:28:32] Daniel Beekman: I don't have that much to add - I think Melissa and Guy nailed it. Only one anecdote is that The Stranger/Seattle Times double endorsement is like a unicorn, should be a slam dunk - but actually, Jon Grant in 2017 had both - got defeated, I think, pretty handily by Teresa Mosqueda, who we were just talking about. So it's not an absolute slam dunk always, but in this case, it looks like it probably will be.

[01:29:06] Crystal Fincher: Definite themes of Teresa Mosqueda as a powerhouse in a number of different ways, it seems like. Now, as we've talked about a number of these races and we're almost done with time, so I guess just going around the horn here - What are you paying attention to most? What do you think is going to be the most interesting or impactful thing in the general election, either as a theme for these races or in any particular race that you're following? starting with Melissa.

[01:29:37] Melissa Santos: Oh, geez. Okay. Yeah, I am really interested to know what people think about tax policy and whether they're supportive of new taxes that go beyond the JumpStart Tax because the City does have a budget deficit - not right at this precise moment over the next six months, but pretty big projected budget deficit going toward 2025 - and I'm curious how candidates will respond with specifics about what they'd support to deal with that. And then I'm also interested in where the candidates are on these police issues, because it's again - when you talk about slogans like "defund the police," that isn't even exactly what happened in Seattle. So it's - what are we talking about? And so that's what I'm watching - is what candidates actually have to say about that and what they mean when they say - I don't like defund the police - or, what does this mean? So I think I'm just really, now that there's not 10 candidates in a race, looking forward to actually figuring out where people stand on issues - hopefully.

[01:30:40] Crystal Fincher: And Guy?

[01:30:43] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think I'm looking forward to see if the economy rebounds a bit and if people start feeling a little less burned out from politics - and whether candidates and their ground game can really go upstream and try to convince some of the disillusioned young folks, and especially more of the progressive folks who are not as happy with Biden and are not looking forward to voting, and just convince them that voting matters and that they're not throwing away their time by filling out the ballot.

[01:31:21] Crystal Fincher: And what about you, Daniel?

[01:31:24] Daniel Beekman: I guess in Seattle City Council races, I'm just curious to see, I think the more conservative, moderate candidates - maybe unfair to paint with a broad brush, but that sort of side of things - will probably, whether there are policy solutions that are realistic to go along with these, but they'll bang on - Oh, we need to crack down or get tough with crime and drugs - and that kind of thing. I'm interested to see, though, what the left-wing candidates try to use or wave as the banner, policy-wise. Is it raising taxes on businesses more? Is it the rent control? Is it another minimum wage hike? What is it? Can they find something to latch on to that's going to capture the voter's imagination?

And then I'm also just curious about some of these suburban races, like I was talking about before we went live - about Bothell and Burien and some interesting stuff up there. Bothell has this sort of growing urbanist political streak, and will that continue with one of the races up there? Looks like it could. And Kenmore finding itself dealing with affordable housing issues more and maybe getting a little bit of a lefty push - and will that continue? So I'm going to keep my eye on those.

[01:32:58] Crystal Fincher: What I'm most looking forward to is to see where donors settle in these races. Certainly donors were spread out amongst a variety of candidates in the primary, but in some of these races, it's not super clear at the moment where the candidate stances are on all the issues. Some races it's pretty clear to say that there's a progressive and a moderate, others it's to be determined and the details of that are yet to be determined. So it's going to be interesting to see where donors consolidate - who more corporate-type donors feel are the candidates that are going to be on their side, where they invest - usually they do not donate to places where they don't feel pretty sure they're going to get a return on that investment of the candidates. So that's going to be interesting to see, and I will be paying attention to that throughout the primary, certainly.

And with that, thank you for listening to this roundtable as it now comes to a close. I want to thank our panelists - Daniel Beekman, Guy Oron, and Melissa Santos - for their insight and making this an engaging and informative event. To those watching online, thanks so much for tuning in. If you missed any of the discussion tonight, you can catch up on the Hacks & Wonks Facebook page, YouTube channel, or on Twitter, where we're @HacksWonks. Special thanks to essential member of the Hacks & Wonks team and coordinator for this evening, Dr. Shannon Cheng.

If you missed voting in the election or know anyone who did, make sure to register to vote, update your registration, or find information for the next election at myvote.wa.gov. And as a reminder, even if you've been previously incarcerated, your right to vote is restored and you can re-register to vote immediately upon your release in Washington state, even if you are still under community supervision.

Be sure to tune into Hacks & Wonks on your favorite podcast app for our Tuesday topical interviews and our Friday week-in-review shows or at officialhacksandwonks.com. I've been your host, Crystal Fincher, and we'll see you next time.